E3 07: God of War: Chains of Olympus Preview

When I last checked in with Ready at Dawn's God of War: Chains of Olympus, things were looking good. The graphics appeared nearly identical to those of SCE Santa Monica's original God of War on PlayStation 2, complete with all the brutal graphics, stage-altering boss battles, and detailed environments for which the series is known.

As the PlayStation 2 and PSP share a similar button layout, the core combat controls exactly the same as here as it did on PS2. Within seconds of picking up the PSP, I was pulling off familiar combos, swinging Kratos' chains overhead, throwing enemies up into the air and then slamming them back down.

Though the PSP lacks the right analog stick used to roll in the PS2 games, it only takes a few moments to familiarize oneself with the new method. When holding down the PSP's shoulder buttons, the analog stick controls Kratos' rolls.

To illustrate the simplicity of adapting to the new controls, the demo unit was already in the midst of a basilisk boss fight when I picked it up. Kratos had less than half of his health, and the basilisk had yet to take any damage. Never having actually played the demo before, I was dodging and rolling almost instantly and managed to defeat the mythical beast without taking any substantial damage.

From there, the demo pitted Kratos against Persian invaders and some environmental obstacles. As Kratos ventured into an area where mortars came constantly crashing down, he had to push a battering ram across a battlefield while under fire, stopping every few steps to avoid fiery death. Eventually Kratos reached the door and, through the series' traditional use of rapidly tapping the O button to activate environmental actions, destroyed it with the battering ram.

A minor puzzle was waiting beyond the ruins of the former gate, a turning wheel that would temporarily open a door on the other side of the room. Of course, nothing is every quite that simple in God of War. The room was filled with archers, more of whom would rush in after their comrades were defeated. It was a race to kill them as fast as possible, turn the wheel until they appeared, and roll under the door just as it was sliding shut.

This all sounds very much like the type of thing one might find in a God of War game on PlayStation 2, and that is the best way to describe God of War: Chains of Olympus. It is God of War on the PSP, exactly as you would imagine it, playing as well and looking as good as its predecessors.

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Ready at Dawn's God of War: Chains of Olympus is slated for a fall 2007 release.

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